Things didn’t go as I expected this weekend. I played in my mind for months the way it would feel when I passed my first exam, but I never prepared for what actually occurred. Let me tell you it did not feel good at all. My heart stopped when I saw the small words at the lower right: FAIL. It took me a couple seconds to get up from my seat. I walked over to get my papers and signed out. I was still shocked. I didn’t pass.
I walked outside to look for my husband. He looks at me… waiting… I tell him, “I failed.” I didn’t even read the papers they gave me. He looked at it and tells me, “Honey, you missed it by 4 questions.” I was shaking and finally the tears came down. I had waited for this day for almost a year. I was so close. Failed by 4 questions. Now, I will have to wait another six months to retake the test. I was devastated, embarrassed, disappointed, confused and upset. Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? Should I have waited a couple more weeks? The questions kept coming…
We had planned to go to San Diego right after my test to celebrate the current highlights in our lives. I was hoping passing the test would be the main celebration. Let me explain something. It’s not so much that I wanted to pass this test to prove that I’m smart or capable. Not even to get the license to put on the wall. The reason I wanted to pass so badly was because for the past year, we have been working so hard to get certified as foster-adoption parents. We are now certified and ready to have a child placed in our home. I wanted to get this test out of the way so that I can focus on our family, but it didn’t happen the way I planned.
On our way, I was still upset. My husband retold a story once shared by a speaker. If you are going through a tough time and feel discouraged, I hope this story directs your thoughts from what you don’t have – to appreciating what you do have right now.
There was a young man, whose grandmother would visit every summer. She a great woman but was the most ruthless Monopoly player he had ever known. One day, a neighbor moved next door and was really good at Monopoly. So, he asked her if she would help him get better at the game. She agreed. So he practiced with her everyday. When summer came, his grandmother arrived and they began to play Monopoly. To his surprise, he won his first game against his grandmother. She then said, “Now it all goes back in the box.” He didn’t want to put it back. He wanted to leave the board out to remind him of this great and triumphant day. “No,” she said, “None of it was really yours. You got all heated up about it for a while, but it was around a long time before you sat down at the board, and it will be here after you’re gone. Players come and players go. But it all goes back in the box.”*
Wow, the lesson was learned once again. Ultimately, whatever my accomplishments are, they all end up in the box. I was also reminded of this blog’s purpose: To embrace life’s lessons and find comfort in God’s word. Well, I’m trying Lord. Embracing the difficult lessons in life is what makes life richer and more fulfilling. I thank my husband for reminding me it’s not about the “stuff” we accumulate (homes, cars, diplomas, certificates, etc.). What’s truly important is the journey we are on together. I have so much to look forward to – that’s what I choose to focus on.
I may not have passed this time, but I am victorious because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. I want to hear from you. Have there been any struggles in your life where maybe you felt like a failure? Maybe you felt disappointed that something didn’t go as planned. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Rest in His Word: Romans 8:28
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
- What is that one thing that has you upset today?
- Write it down. It’s okay to feel the emotions… just don’t cradle them too long. Give them to the Lord. They don’t belong to you.
*I belive this story originated with John Ortberg. You can check out his original version by purchasing his book, It All Goes Back in the Box.